Accreditation of a testing laboratory proves that the laboratory produces reliable results with the testing methods that belong to its scope of accreditation. Industrial laboratories, service laboratories and public research laboratories are included in accredited testing laboratories. Examples of laborator fields include food, drinking water, environmental water and soil samples, emission measurements, and material and product testing.
Testing laboratories use accreditation as a means to demonstrate their competence to their clients. Many tendering processes both in Finland and abroad require that competence is demonstrated through accreditation. When operators are approved for official duties, many authorities utilise the accreditation of laboratories for this. In such a case, com-petence requirements have been defined in legislation.
FINAS co-operate closely with the authorities in different areas of testing with regard to development of operations and information exchange. Examples of this include the testing of building products in accordance with the EU product legislation (Ministry of the Environment) and testing related to vehicles, traffic and the railroads (Ministry of Transport and Communications and Trafi).
A technical support group called VERA has been set up for water, food and animal feed analysis, as well as for healthy building analysis. Its operations are introduced in more detail hereafter.
Accreditation of testing laboratories is also implemented in co-operation with global pro-grammes in various fields. For example, assessment of doping laboratories is carried out in co-operation with WADA and pharmaceutical testing with EDQM.
The SFS/EN ISO/IEC 17025:2005 standard is the accreditation requirement for testing laboratories.
The quality management system of an accredited testing laboratory meet the principles of ISO 9001 standard. The international organisations ISO, ILAC and IAF have stated this compliance in their joint resolution.
Accredited testing laboratories use the FINAS accreditation symbol, in which the identification number of the accredited body is of the form TXXX.